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“Would have been excellent but the casino that's linked are scamming people” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #44 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
stockport
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Would have been excellent but the casino that's linked are scamming people”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012 via mobile

We are still here now weather been a bit mixed , the rooms are excellent and the food is very good just be carefull in the casino as we were led to this so called promotion they give you 10 dollars then the larger than life American croupier give you 6 balls to throw into a drum with holes in if you score over 50 then you win the pot of 400 dollars problem is he quickly counts the numbers before you then stays just 14 points to win so you keep going then you finally get the scam and it's too late you never ever win shame on the hotel for allowing this under their umbrella our rep Martin is now looking into it 3 other couples have lost their money just this week

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (459)
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New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

The hotel was very well maintained, the staff was friendly and there was always food and drinks on hand. The food was okay, wasn't superb but wasn't too bad either. Only big down side was there was no king size bed, only two double beds pushed together and the pillows on the bed smelled like wet towels, so I had to take 2 towels to cover them just to be able to go to sleep. The prices in the gift shop were exorbitant and the staff at the gift shop seemed troubled to have to assist customers despite this being their job. The nightly entertainment was really good and it was nice to have activities and not leave the resort if we didn't feel like it.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

Travel dates were Nov 3-10. I am 7 months pregnant and i had an awesome time. I went with my husband. i have been to Mexico x2, Cuba, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Dominican (Bahia Principe Bavaro) and this was definately an all round excellent trip. This is not adults only- there were plenty of famiilies there with young children.

FLIGHT:
Departed from Toronto. Our flight time of 10am was great because we didnt have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. We pre-booked our seats on line- well worth it.
-Approx half hour from airport. We made a few stops on the way. But not an unreasonable distance.
-Hotel Riu Palace apparently opened in Dec 2011. it was super spotless, and if you have stayed a riu before, it lives up to its Riu standards (I've stayed at Riu Cancun and Riu Montego Bay).
-Lobby is right off the parking lot. Check in was 3pm but since we arrived around then, it was smooth sailing.

NOTE: FEES charged to visitors- $10 US fee for when you land and $20 US fee when you depart per person

WEATHER: It was awesome. Approx. 35 degrees daily. No rain - except a thunderstorm on our last day as we waited for the bus to take us to airport (we didnt mind obviously because we were leaving anyway!)

ROOM: it was very upscale and super clean. Colours were purple, black and white. King size bed. 3 pillows, one blanket (I felt a little cool at night so I asked and got extra pillows and blankets without issue). Stand up shower with rain showerhead. separate toilet. King size bed. Our balcony had a view of the pool (there's an exclusive section where those members had their own pool- that's the view we got) and the ocean/beach in the background. We also had a jacuzzi tub with jets in our room which was located centrally in the room near the bed in the open - which was heavenly! Two sinks. Fridge is refilled every 2 days. There was domestic beer, pop-orange, pepsi, sprite and there was an in-room bar (4 bottles). They also had coffee- but to get that refilled I had to activelly ask for it. TV had lots of Spanish channels with a few US channels. There was also an alarm clock radio. TIP for the shower- the water on the first day was lukewarm and day by day got better. By the 3rd day, I was able to have a nice hot shower.

BEACH: It was awesome. Clean white sand (not rocky, no seaweed). Tons of chairs available. Their manual tells you not to reserve chairs by putting your towels on it. We hit the beach at various times of day throughout the week and never did we have any difficulty in finding chairs. Lots of beach space and lots of chairs too. The water was clear and warm. It was wavy so a non swimmer like me just flapped around in it. I could go pretty far out and it was still shallow. There was alot of shady spots at the beach- palm trees- for those interested. We did get the occasional vendor coming by selling their wares.

POOL: The pool was great. It was a curvy pool and lots of chairs available- both in shade and in the sun. The water at its deepest was probably about just shy of 5 feet. it was super warm. it was rarely busy and even when it was busy, tons of chairs available.

BAR: There is a swim up bar located in the pool and beside it is the beach bar- just for drinks. Towel exchange is located just across from swim up bar.

Beside the pool (and still close to the beach) there is Taino restaurant- buffet (At night, this is the steak house restaurant). Which is open from around noon to just before dinner. So perfect for someone like me eating for two- squeezing in a couple of snack between breakfast and lunch- and between lunch and dinner. You can get salads, breads, fruit, pizza, meats, fries, etc... there.
Just off to the right side of this restaurant are washrooms - so they are conveniently located near the restaurant, pool AND beach area. Washrooms also in lobby- all were found to be very clean and well maintained.

LOBBY also has a bar on one side and a lounge on the other side- at the lounge you can get different coffees, esspressos, teas and both sweet and savoury snacks (ie. cookies, cakes, pastries and premade sandwiches). Nice and relaxing to just sit there and hang out.

SPORTS BAR: Just off the lobby on one side is a sports bar which is open all day and into the wee hours of the night- they offer pool, tv, games as well as drinks. In a fridge off to one side of the bar you can get premade cold sandwiches as well as burgers (just gotta heat them up) and nachos with cheese.

FOOD:
MAIN RESTAURANT called MONTECRISTO- BUFFET (which is located between lobby and pool/beach area).
BREAKFAST IS from 7-11
LUNCH from 1-3
DINNER from 6-10 (or 11, cant recall).
-Food was great. Good variety of foods. Breakfast had at least 10 different styles of egg dishes. I am a vegetarian- good selection of salads, pizza, breads (I made my own sandwiches). I found it to be a little lacking in all-veggie dishes (ie. they'd have veggies with ham mixed in or rice with other meats thrown in there.) So I had to be very careful of what i ate. They had great hashbrowns!!
My husband said the selection of meat and meat dishes was really good- as with the alcohol.

A LA CARTE: Book them as soon as you get there. Each restaurant has 2 sittings- one around 6:30/7 and the other at 9. We booked one at 9 and found we were starved by the time 9pm rolled around. We preferred the earlier sitting.

These are the ones we ate at:
LA BAMBOLA- italian restaurant. I loved it! buffet style appetizers and the main meals were delicious!
KRYSTAL: fusion restauarnt- really good.

OTHER: There are 3 other RIU hotels on this beachfront. You can access 2 of the others except the MACAO - which is adults only. It was nice to nosy around at the other resorts and by far our Riu was the best! There's also a disco which is open to all four hotels- located near Caribbean St. We unfortunately didnt make it there. We were in a carbohydrate coma after dinner each night!

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT/SHOWS: They had nightly entertainment which was okay- your typical resort type of entertainment with- you guessed it- a Michael Jackson show one night. On one night they had a magic show- which wasnt overly impressive. Across from the stage they have a smaller stage- where they had a live band or a solo singer most nights before the main act and after- this stage is in the open area and it was beautiful at night to listen to mellow tunes and couples were dancing under the sky. It was really nice. I've never experienced that anywhere else before.

SHOPPING: There is a store on site near the lobby- however items are very expensive. I saw a Twix chocolate bar for $3 US!

CARIBBEAN St: There is a Caribbean Street on the Riu property (a stretch of road where there's approx 20 stores selling souvenirs, clothing, snacks, pharmacy, etc...) which can be accessed by everyone at any of these resorts. We checked it out and found it to be pricey and not worth buying anything there. Its interested to browse around there though.

PALMA REAL SHOPPING TRIP: We did a free bus trip (approx 20 minutes away) to a local mall Palma Real- complete waste of time. The bus dropped us off just before noon. We walked the entire span of the mall in about 10 minutes. I found it not to be worthwhile at all. We had to wait 2 hours for the bus to pick us up again. They had Hard Rock Cafe, Tony Roma's among other places. I found it to be expensive. They also have an Armani Exchange store.

STAFF: The staff were very nice and professional and accomodating. Staff arent hustling for tips. They're polite. I just found that a good number of them dont speak much english. So as long as as you're aware of that.

SPA: I had wanted a massage - I inquired if they offer pre-natal massages and they couldnt understand what i meant even when i pointed to my very pregnant stomach. So i gave up. I erred on the side of caution and didnt indulge. They offer full range of nails, hair, spa services.

GYM: they have an adequate gym inside the hotel which my husband used about 4 times.

GUESTS: We found that most of them tend to be from Spanish-speaking countries. Also a lot of Germans there as well. Handful of British and some Canadian. People were great. All there for a good time. Lots of families with wee children, which didnt bother us at all. As well as groups of ladies there together as friends.
NOTE: We did find a bit of pushing during dinner time- like people were worried that the food was going to run out so they had to butt in line to get there first. But that's not a resort issue, just a manners issue that some people had not learned apparently.

Overall an EXCELLENT time at this resort. Would definately recommend to family and friends whether you are going as a couple, a family or a group of friends.

PUNTA CANA AIRPORT on WAY BACK: BE PREPARED FOR CHAOS!!! The line up to check in to airport on way back was horrible. The line up was a couple of hundred people with only 2 people working there. The lines were so bad, you couldnt figure out where the back of the line was. So we were walking in a snakelike spiral trying to find the end of the line. We had to get rid of our water before customs so i was hot, dehydrated, and feeling a bit faint. What i found really decent was that a Sunwing rep came and took us to the front of the line. It really helped so i could get a drink as soon as i got through the line.

Any questions, please ask!!!
Enjoy your trip!

Room Tip: Check out where your room is before you ask for a closer room to beach. I was going to ask right at...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

This was my first trip to the DR and my first time at a Riu resort. I was nervous after reading negative reviews here on Trip Advisor, but I couldn't have been happier with this vacation.

Check in: Quick and easy. We upgraded to a VIP villa. That was easily accommodated. Front desk staff spoke good English and were very friendly. We were offered fruit punch to drink, and it was very delicious. I did not notice an upleasant odor that others have described. Although I didn't care for the decor, it was very nicely kept and clean.

Lobby bar/Coffee bar: Great service at both bars. The coffee drinks were delicious. We often had pre-dinner drinks at the lobby bar every night. It was usually very lively and busy, but we always found a place to sit and enjoy a beverage.

Room: We stayed in a ground-level VIP villa. It was definitely worth the $80/night upgrade. Our villa had a spacious patio w/a private hot tub. We used it on the evenings/afternoons when it was raining and it was so relaxing. Our room was also spacious and very clean. The air conditioning was cold!! Our room was kept clean and the mini bar was kept stocked. We read reports of the beds being too hard to sleep in. I did note that the mattress was very firm, but I slept soundly every night. We loved our room location. It was very close to the VIP pool and the beach. If it started raining, we could easily get back to our room and into the hot tub. The room safe worked perfectly, and we had nothing stolen from us.

Room Service: extremely limited menu. We tried the nachos (not good, basically what you would get at a sporting event), raspberry cheesecake (OK), and chocolate cake (really, really good).

Krystal Restaurant: we ate here twice. It was my favorite of the restaurants. Starters: mixed reviews. About half our group liked the tuna tataki. Few liked the beet gazpacho, but a couple of us (myself included) really liked it. Appetizers: soup was really good and the mini lettuce rolls were great. Entrees: the shrimp and the lamb were both really good. Desserts: the apple pie was OK, didn't care for the others.

Steakhouse: Starters were OK, but the octopus ceviche was great. Ribeye, not great; tenderloin, good; pork ribs were great. Dessert was OK.

Geisha Restaurant (Japanese): sushi was good. The restaurant was not full, so we asked if they had extra sushi platters. They did, and they brought them out. Soup was OK. I had shrimp tempura for dinner, was good. Did not care for dessert.

Italian restaurant: Starters were served buffet style. Some were good and some were not. Entrees were hit and miss. The pasta was prawns was good.

Monte Cristo buffet: overwhelming selection @all meals. Loved the sunny-side-up eggs in salsa at bkst. Other high points: croissants; pasta made to order at lunch; ice cream/gelato at lunch; pizza at lunch; great selection of colds meats and cheeses at all meals.

Overall food: I was pleased w/the food. There was a huge selection. Since most of the clientele appears to be European, the food was not highly "American". This was fine w/me, I like to try new things. I would say the food was a step above cruise ship food.

Bar service: The actual service was good. Limited beer choice, but I could live w/that b/c I am not a big beer drinker. I mainly drank pina coladas (really good), daiquiris (good), rum punch (good), and rum and coke (or in this case Pepsi). I had no complaints w/my drinks. The wines are not great, but we found one red one that we really liked. It was a cabernet savignon and the label said "Regio".

Beach: beautiful!!!!! I didn't notice a problem w/seaweed. Plenty of chairs available and plenty of palm trees and shade.

Pools: we spent most of our time at the VIP pool. I loved it there. It was quieter, but still fun. The bar staff was very nice. Plenty of seating (lounge chairs and beds) and plenty of shade (if desired).

Overall impression: I loved the Riu Palace Bavaro. I would not hesitate to come back to this facility and I would definitely go to another Riu Resort.

Room Tip: VIP villas are close to pool and beach, lower levels have private hot tubs on the patio.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, MO
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

I just spent the last week at Riu Palace Bavaro and had such a great, relaxing vacation! My husband and I traveled with 10 other people and everyone had a great trip! The rooms and grounds are very well kept up and very clean! Keep in mind it is very humid so if the air is not turned on in your room, it can get a mildew smell - once the air started running again, the smell went away. Service was great- we called a couple times to get our fridge re-stocked and they took care of this very quickly. We did tip some but never felt pressured to. The staff was always very friedly.
We ate at all of the restaurants and did not have problems with any of them. Our favorites were Krystal and Geisha. We did not love the buffets but were able to find something we would eat. You just have to keep in mind it's not Americanized - if you don't like something, don't eat it and go find something you do!
The beach was beautiful - there was some seaweed and the waves could get a little rough but it was not so bad that you don't want to get in! We split our time between the beach and the pool every day!
We did venture to the casino and "discoteque" - drinks were free if you were gambling but other than that, you were required to pay for drinks at both. From the glimpse of the other Riu resorts, Palace Bavaro is the nicest choice!
I would recommened this resort to a friend!

Room Tip: We stayed in a garden view room and had no issues with it - we were in our room very little!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mansfield, Texas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

Just got back from the RIU Palace Bavaro, It was an excellent trip again as usual. This is my third visit to a RIU Palace, the first two being in Cancun and Los Cabos. The staff is as friendly as ever, and they are always busy either greeting you or cleaning the resort. There is a VIP section, but if you get a Villa, you are automatically a VIP person. There is only one benefit to being the VIP and that is that you get a more secluded pool that is way less crowded than the standard pool. I would highly recommend the Geisha restaurant, it was WAY too much food, but the taste was fantastic. The buffet could be hit or miss depending on what they were making. Other than that, this one is the first one with Wi-Fi in the rooms, which was a BIG plus.

Room Tip: If you want the VIP access from the start, get one of the villas, plus they are closer to the beach...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012 via mobile

I have read so many bad reviews of this place that i was really scared about the fun and rooms, well they were wrong.

Room

We stayed in the VIP section with a hot tub and it was worth the extra ~500ish. Room was great and the hot tub was great for the rainy days.

Pool

Pool was great with a bar and they would bring drinks to you in the VIP section.

Beach

There was some seaweed but it was really good.

Food

No issues with the food.

We used the funjet transfers to get to and from the airport. No issues.

Why so many bad reviews?

Most of the reviews are americans with little travel experience. The resort is less than 50% American, imo. Most of the bad reviews have one or two posts on trip advisor.

Due to that you need to know some spanish and some German would help you. There are plenty of russians here to.

$3000 with airfare from the states does not get you 5 star dining. This is on the level of cruise ship dining and nothing more should be expected for the price.

I was not pressed for trips but did give some the staff was really good to me.

The most peaceful place i have been in years and a lot better than Jamaica or mexico.

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #44 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 610
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